Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What Are Fad Diets?

With obesity expected to affect 50% of the population by 2050, the reign of fad diets and ‘quick fix weight loss progammes’ has increased in popularity. From the cabbage diet to the Quantum Wellness to the 48 Hour Miracle diet, every single one of these celebrity fads all claim to promote immediate weight loss and experience increased energy.

Do they work?

On occasion… Apart from helping you to achieve quickweight loss, the vast majority of slimmer’s have reported small weight loss of just 1-3 pounds before plateauing after their first week.
More worryingly, once they stopped using these fad meals they immediately regained all the weight they lost.

But are they safe?

Whilst can help you to benefit from immediate weight loss, most are not healthy for long term use…Limiting the amount ofessential nutrients needed to ensure your metabolism is recieve the nutrients they need to work properly, many involve lowering your calorie consumption to below 1,000 calories a day - if not less – over half your nutritional allowance.
Supported by strict exercise routines and gruelling calorie checking, many of these said dietary fads do run the risk of making you feel quezy, fatiqued, unable to think straight and more worryingly unable to function properly - All of which are

How can you spot them?

Offering you a fast solution to your weight loss issues, you can easily spot a dietary fads by their:
• Too good to be true claims
• Lack of clinical studies
• Elimination of one or more of the five food groups
• Recommendations from studies without reviews from other researchers

When a weight loss programme or slimming pill, it is essential to deeply study their benefits first before incorporating them into your diet. If there is no proofthat they can promote quality weight loss results, then they probably don't work.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Power Of Spinach In A Healthy Diet

For many years, nutritionists and mothers have known about the awesome power of spinach and its importance to a healthy diet. After all, there is a reason your mother always encouraged you to eat your spinach, and Popeye can certainly attest to the awesome power of this food.

Spinach is packed full of such important nutrients as vitamin C, calcium and beta carotene. In addition, spinach is one of the richest plant sources of iron, and it should be part of a healthy diet for everyone, from the youngest child to the oldest adult.

The benefits of spinach

One of the most significant benefits of spinach in the diet is that it is a very rich source of insoluble fiber. Most Americans eat a diet that is deficient in fiber, and this lack of fiber can lead to a number of serious medical complications, including stomach problems, intestinal issues and even some forms of cancer.

The insoluble fiber contained in spinach has also been associated with protecting the heart and other vital organs from damage. In addition to the value of spinach as a possible heart diseases fighter, recent studies have shown real promise in using spinach as a cancer fighter. The nutrients and fiber in spinach are thought to provide protection against such common cancer killers as breast cancer and lung cancer.

Spinach and cancer protection

One reason for this strong cancer fighting ability is the high level of vitamin E contained in this delicious vegetable. Vitamin E has long been thought to provide protection against cancer, and the high levels of vitamin E in spinach make it one of the best sources of this strong antioxidant vitamin.

Spinach is also a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin. These substances are important carotenoids, and like the other well known carotenoid, beta carotene, they are excellent antioxidants, which help to protect the body from the effects of free radicals and cell breakdown.

Finding the best spinach

Another great thing about spinach is that it is easy to buy, available virtually everywhere, and quite reasonable in price. Fresh spinach is available in just about every supermarket and grocery store chain, and it is available for a significant portion of the year in most parts of the country.

In addition to its availability, spinach is quite reasonably priced compared to many other common fruits and vegetables. Spinach can even be grown in the home garden quite easily, as it grows quite well in many areas of the country.

Whether you choose store bought spinach or buy your own, however, it is important to select the greenest and healthiest looking spinach for your recipes. It is also important to not cook spinach longer than necessary, as some of the vital nutrients can be lost through overcooking or excessive heat. It is best to quickly steam the spinach to preserve its nutritional value.

With all the benefits spinach has to offer, it is surprising that more people do not enjoy this wonderful food. Spinach is versatile, and it can be used in a wide variety of recipes, from soups to salads, from side dishes to main courses. There is a reason why spinach has such a reputation as a health food; it seems that the reputation is more than deserved.


The Importance Of Maintaining A Healthy Weight

For many people, maintaining a healthy weight is a real struggle, and obesity is quickly becoming the number one health problem in the country. Everyone knows about the many serious health problems that have been associated with being overweight, including diabetes, joint problems, stroke, heart disease and high cholesterol among others.

It is possible to ward off many of these serious medical problems simply by maintaining a healthy weight, and the best way to maintain that healthy weight is to get plenty of exercise and to eat right.

The foundation of good health

Exercise and eating right are absolutely vital parts of any plan to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Without making significant and permanent changes to your lifestyle, you will be doomed to follow one fad diet after another, losing lots of weight only to gain it back and then some.

This type of yoyo dieting has been found to be even more dangerous than being overweight, and it can lead to a number of serious health problems of its own. The best diet plan is one that you will be able to follow for the rest of your life. If you are not able to keep to your diet plan over the long term, you will not be able to succeed.

When it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, it is often better to make a series of small changes, rather than try to make a radical change in your life. For instance, instead of going from being a couch potato to running 10 miles a day, try instead to start by taking a walk three times a week. A simple walk around your neighborhood can do wonders for your health and fitness, and regular exercise can speed up your metabolism, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight over the long run.

The importance of exercise

In addition, regular exercise will help you build muscle while losing fat, and this extra muscle tissue will also help you lose additional weight. In addition, you will feel better, and this will help your overall fitness level as well as your weight. An exercise program does not need to be overly strenuous in order to be effective. As we have said, the simple process of taking a walk several times a week can work wonders for anyone.

Eating a well balanced diet is the other part of the process of maintaining a healthy weight. A healthy and well balanced diet is an essential part of keeping a healthy weight, and eating the wrong foods can quickly wreck the most well intentioned diet.

It is important, however, to follow a healthy diet that you can stick with the rest of your life. It is important therefore to choose those foods that you already like, as this will help you to stick with your diet over the long term. It is also important to give yourself the occasional treat, as this splurging will help you to avoid the cravings that can destroy your diet and keep you from maintaining a healthy weight.


The Importance Of Detoxing Your Body

One of the most important things anyone can do to improve overall health and fitness is detoxing the body. This detoxiing should ideally take place a couple of times a year, and many people prefer to do it at the spring and fall of every year.

No matter when you do your detoxing, however, it is important to do it the right way. Diet, exercise and avoiding stress are all essential elements of maintaining good health and optimal fitness, and it is important to take these elements into account as you create your detoxification plan.

Why should I consider detoxing?

Detoxing is particularly important in the modern world, since environmental pollutants, toxins and other elements can quickly build up to toxic levels and cause ill health and a variety of mental and physical consequences. These serious consequences include such things as weakened immune system to fatigue to feeling of depression.

Fortunately the diet needed for proper detoxing is simple and easy to follow, and it can be repeated as often as needed in order to ensure optimal health benefits.

What to eat when detoxing

We will start are detoxing discussion with a list of foods to include when on the detoxification diet. Any combination of the foods listed below can be used, provided that the combination provides a nutritional and balanced daily diet.

 Fruit – it is important to eat plenty of fresh fruit when detoxing,and any type of fruit can be used, including apples, oranges and more exotic fruits. Fruit juices are fine as well, provided that they are made with 100% real fruit and contain no artificial preservatives or added sugar.

 Vegetables – as with fruit, it is important to eat plenty of vegetables while detoxing Some of the most popular vegetables for detoxing the body include onions, carrots, turnips, cabbage, bean sprouts, peppers, mushrooms, corn, leeks, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

 Beans and lentils – any kind of beans are great for detoxing the body, including dried beans and beans canned in water. Beans canned in oil should be avoided. Some of the most popular beans for detoxing include kidney beans, lima beans, pinto beans, black eyed peas and lentils.

 Tofu and quorn – These two popular meat substitutes are excellent choices for detoxing.

 Oats – oats are great for sprinkling over fresh fruit or for use in a porridge. Oats can be sweetened and enhanced with honey or fresh fruit.

 Fresh fish – fish can be a major part of the diet while detoxing. Some of the healthiest varieties of fish include cod, salmon, mackerel, monkfish and trout.

 Live yogurt – Live yogurt is a great choice for detoxing, as it contains valuable nutrients and beneficial bacteria which help to sooth the digestive tract during the detox process.

What to avoid when detoxing

Just as there are foods that should be included in the detox diet, there are foods that must be avoided when detoxing. These foods include:

Red meat, chicken, turkey and other poultry
Processed meat products, such as sausages and pate
Milk, cream, cheese and other dairy products
Eggs, butter and margarine
Snacks like potato chips
Salted nuts
Chocolate and sweets
Sugar, particularly refined sugar
Jams and jellies
Alcohol, tea, coffee and soft drinks
Store bought salad dressings

Following this plan for detoxing several times a year is a great way to keep your overall health at its best, and to avoid the problems associated with pollution and stress. This plan for detoxing is simple, easy to follow, and can be used whenever you feel you need a lift.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Food That Helps Reduce Asthma Symptoms

Asthma symptoms can be at best annoying and at worst life threatening and the bad news is that cases of asthma are on the rise. More and more children and adults are diagnosed with this condition every year, and asthma continues to be the most commonly diagnosed lung condition in the nation.

The good news, however, is that there is more and more interest in food that helps reduce asthma symptoms. Scientists and researchers are increasingly interested in the role of diet in preventing and treating a host of diseases, and many studies are underway into the many ways in which diet influences asthma symptoms.

Diet and asthma

One recent study focused on the role of diet in young children with asthma. The study focused on food that helps reduce asthma symptoms, and it found that those children who regularly consumed full fat milk, butter and similar dairy products were less likely to develop asthma.

In addition, the children who consumed these full fat dairy products, such as whole milk and butter, also experienced less wheezing than those children who did not consume such foods. This study seems to suggest that dairy products are one type of food that helps reduce asthma symptoms.

Whole wheat and asthma

Another type of food that helps reduce asthma symptoms may be whole wheat bread and other foods containing whole grains. These whole grain products are thought to help reduce the severity of asthma symptoms, and to help reduce the likelihood of asthma in children.

The same study found that fruit juice, fresh fruits and fresh vegetables eaten on a daily basis are another example of a food that helps reduce asthma symptoms.

Despite these promising studies, scientists are still unsure of the basic cause of asthma. There are a number of studies that suggest that food allergies may play a role in triggering asthma attacks. For those food allergy triggered attacks, it is important to find those foods that trigger the attacks, as well as finding food that helps reduce asthma symptoms.

Asthma and allergies

Once these dietary triggers are identified, it will be much easier to tailor the diet to avoid the bad foods and concentrate on that food which helps reduce asthma symptoms.

In some cases, asthma attacks can be triggered by food or drink that is very hot or very cold. On occasion, asthma can also be triggered by overeating. In addition, some people have asthma attacks that are triggered by reactions to common food preservatives, including the sulfites found in many processed meats and other foods. Often, therefore, finding food that helps reduce asthma symptoms simply consists of avoiding these common asthma triggers.

While changes in diet and eating food that helps reduce asthma symptoms can be remarkably effective, such dietary changes should not be undertaken without the advice and consent of your family physician or pediatrician. It is important that your doctor know what treatments you are taking, including not only medications but also dietary changes. This knowledge will allow your doctor to more effectively tailor a treatment program to deal with your asthma condition.


Diabetes and Weight Loss

Did you know that you can be 'just a little bit diabetic'? The condition is technically called 'pre-diabetes', and it is characterized by persistent high blood sugar levels. Pre-diabetes is a serious condition, though its symptoms may be so subtle that you don't notice them affecting your life. More importantly, it's an indicator that there is something seriously wrong with your body. Left untreated, over 50% of those diagnosed with pre-diabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes within ten years.

If your doctor has told you that you are one of the more than 16 million Americans who has pre-diabetes, the American Diabetes Association has some very good news for you. In March 2005, the ADA released the results of the multi-year Diabetes Prevention Project. In a study that followed thousands of patients across the nation who had been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, the Diabetes Prevention Project found that patients who lost a 'moderate' amount of weight reduced their risk of developing full-blown diabetes by over 58%. Even more encouraging, many of those patients had managed to reverse their condition, and their blood sugar levels were well within normal ranges.

This was a result that the researchers had not expected. Diabetes (and pre-diabetes) is the result of changes to cells in the pancreas that reduce the amount of insulin that they can produce. Doctors have always believed that those changes are irreversible. Now however, the research seems to suggest that losing weight with a healthy balance of exercise and diet can actually heal those early damages caused by diabetes.

Here's the even better news. Those results were achieved by people who lost 'moderate' amounts of weight - from 5-7% of their total body mass. In other words, if you weigh 200 pounds and have been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, losing just 10-15 pounds can more than halve the risk of developing full-blown diabetes, and may reverse your condition entirely.

Here are some healthy weight loss tips from the American Diabetes Association:

1. Keep your diet balanced. Eat a variety of foods in all food groups, with an emphasis on grains, starches and fresh vegetables and fruit.

2. Learn to eyeball portions. Portion control is far more important than restricting what foods you eat. A 'portion' of raw vegetables may be considerably larger than a portion of the same vegetables cooked. There are some handy reference guides on their web site at

3. Add one half hour daily of moderate exercise to your daily routine five days a week. This one single lifestyle change seemed to be the key to both weight loss and the beneficial effects derived from it. It was the single significant difference between the two groups in the study.

The results of the Diabetes Prevention Project only confirm what has been the best advice in dieting circles for years - losing weight with a balanced diet and exercise is the healthiest way there is. For more information on the diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association, visit their web site at


A Simple Plan for Weight Loss

The math is pretty simple. One pound of fat equals 3500 calories. Want to lose a pound a week? Then you need to consume 3500 calories less per week than you use. That's about 500 calories a day. By cutting out 500 calories a day from your normal daily diet, while keeping your activity level the same, you can lose approximately one pound a week.

All right - that doesn't sound like much, especially if you're more than 25 pounds overweight. Study after study has shown, though, that those people who lose weight gradually - at a rate of 1-2 pounds per week -are far more likely to keep the weight off and maintain a normal weight for a lifetime.

So how much exactly IS 500 calories? If you're going to reduce your daily intake by 500 calories, it helps to know what you need to cut out, right? Here's how easy it is to lose 500 calories a day:

* Use milk instead of cream in your coffee. Savings? 50 calories per cup.
* Skip the butter on your baked potato. Savings? 100 calories
* Drink fruit-flavored water instead of a 16 ounce soda. Savings? 200 calories
* Skip the Big Mac and have a salad instead. A Big Mac weighs in at a whopping 460 calories. A fresh salad with a light dressing? Less than 100! Savings? 360 calories
* Pass by the bag of potato chips. An average snack size bag of chips has over 300 calories. Savings? 300 calories
* Eat your corn on the ear. A 1 cup serving of canned corn has 165 calories. An ear of corn has 85. Savings? 80 calories.
* Switch to low-fat cream cheese on your bagel. Savings? 90 calories per ounce.
* Love those fries and can't give them up? Swap the skinny fries out for thick steak-cut ones. Thin French fries absorb more oil than the thicker, meatier ones. Savings? 50 calories per 4 ounce serving

If you'd rather look at losing weight from an exercise perspective, you can also lose one pound a week by upping your activity level by 500 calories a day. How easy is that to do? Take a look:

* Take a half-hour walk around the park. Aim for a pace that's a little faster than a stroll, but not fast enough to be breathless. Burn: 160 calories.
* Get out your bike and take a ride. Tackle a few moderate hills and aim for about five miles total. Burn: 250 calories
* Go dancing - and really DANCE. The longer you're out on the floor instead of at the table drinking up high-calorie drinks, the more you'll get out of it. Dancing that makes you breathless and warms up your body will net you a nice calorie savings. Burn: 400 calories for one hour
* Swimming is great for you, and a lot of fun, too. The water resistance means you burn more calories, and you avoid the stress impact on joints from aerobics, dancing or walking. Do a few laps at a slow crawl - if you can get up to an hour you'll be doing great! Burn: 510 calories
* Get out into your garden. An hour of gardening tasks that includes bending and stretching can burn up to as many calories as a brisk walk. Burn: 250 calories.
* Play a game of tennis. Hook up with a friend for a weekly tennis game and you'll be amazed at the difference. One hour of vigorous tennis is one of the best calorie burners around. Burn: 800 calories

It’s important to keep in mind that all exercise/calorie numbers are based on a woman weighing 130 pounds. If you weigh more, you'll burn more. Want an added bonus to burning calories through exercise? When you exercise, you build muscle by converting it from fat. Three guesses which kind of body tissue burns more calories - even when you're not exercising. You got it - your body uses more energy to maintain and feed muscle than it does fat.

For best results, mix and match food savings with exercises that burn calories. Do keep in mind that eating less than 1000 calories a day for more than a few days will convince your body that it's starving and slow your metabolism. Keep calorie ranges reasonable, and consult a doctor if you want a quicker, more drastic weight loss.


10 Real Life Diet Tips

Are you tired of diet tips handed out by someone with apparently unlimited income and time? For some of us, it may just not be practical to spend half of our Sunday preparing carefully portioned meals for the rest of the week, or financially feasible to buy all our meals prepackaged in just the right portions. And there are those of us who cringe at the thought of weighing food to achieve 'optimal portion sizes'. Here are ten real life diet tips for the rest of us.

1. Eating out? Restaurant portions tend to be enormous, and if it's on the plate, we tend to eat it. If it's possible, order from the kid’s menu, where portions are more reasonably sized.

2. Keep healthy snacks around and easily accessible. A bowl of fruit on the kitchen table, a container of celery or carrot sticks in the refrigerator, or a couple of pop-open cans of fruit salad in your desk at work will help you grab for something healthy when those first hunger pains begin. In other words, you'll be more likely to grab something low-calorie and good for you if it's easy to eat.

3. Substitute frozen vegetables for canned. Canned veggies tend to be high in sodium, which you don't need, and low in real nutrition, which you do. Buy economy size bags with zip closures to make it easy to pour out a single serving for a meal.

4. Buy a vegetable steamer. Steaming is one of the healthiest ways to cook vegetables. The food retains nearly all of its natural nutrients instead of leaching it out into the cooking water. Even better, it makes your veggies taste great - which means you'll be more likely to eat them instead of filling up on fatty foods that pack on weight.

5. Never eat standing up. One of the easiest ways to sabotage your diet is to 'eat without thinking'. Treat eating with the respect that it deserves. Fix yourself a plate. Sit down and eat properly. You'll be less likely to just pop food into your mouth without paying attention.

6. Spread your meals out. When you eat three meals a day, your body tends to store whatever it doesn't need right that moment. By adopting a 'grazing' habit, you'll keep your metabolism working throughout the day. Have a small breakfast, a piece of fruit with crackers or toast at mid-morning, a light lunch and an 'after school snack' mid-afternoon. Just remember that you're breaking up the same amount of food into smaller meals, not ADDING more food into your daily diet.

7. Grab a fruit juice or flavored water instead of soda. Soda is nothing but empty calories. No nutrients, lots of sugar. Instead, grab a bottle of 100% fruit juice, or water flavored with a spritz of fruit.

8. Drink water. Even the FDA recommends at least 8 full 8 ounce glasses of water a day to keep your body working right. When you're dieting, you should drink even more. It's not just that full feeling - water helps your body digest foods properly and cleans out your system.

9. Can't afford a gym membership? Make a pact with friends to exercise together. Make a date at least three times a week to play volleyball, take a walk or spend half an hour doing something active.

10. Skip the potato chips. Fatty snacks fried in hydrogenated oil like potato chips contribute fat and calories and not much else. Instead, grab a handful of dried fruit or a cup of yogurt for the same amount of calories and a lot more nutritional benefit.


The Importance Of Tomatoes To A Healthy Diet

The health benefits of tomatoes are well known, and tomatoes are known to contain a great many important compounds that play an important role in the prevention of cancer, heart disease, cataracts and many other common health problems. Tomatoes are rich sources of many important nutrients, and more and more people are coming to realize just how important tomatoes are to a healthy diet.

Tomatoes and vitamin C

For instance, tomatoes contain as much vitamin C as many citrus fruits, with a normal sized tomato providing up to 40 percent of the recommended daily intake of this important nutrient. In addition, tomatoes contain large amounts of vitamin A, potassium and iron. And tomatoes are one of the most delicious, and most versatile of all foods. From fresh tomatoes in your salad to ketchup on your burger, tomatoes are everywhere, and this makes it quite easy to enjoy their many health benefits.

In a way, it is their rich color that makes tomatoes so valuable to a healthy diet. The substance responsible for the red coloration of tomatoes is known scientifically as lycopene. This important compound is thought to be a strong antioxidant, with the ability to neutralize the free radicals that can cause damage to cells. These free radicals are thought to play a role in cancer, and therefore tomatoes are thought to be important in the prevention of many kinds of cancer.

As a matter of fact, lycopene is thought to be twice as effective as many other kinds of antioxidants, and it has been shown to play a role in the prevention of such common cancers as prostate cancer, lung cancer and breast cancer. In addition, lycopene is thought to help to inhibit the aging process, allowing tomato eaters to remain active longer.

How to choose the best tomatoes

To get the greatest amount of benefits from tomatoes it is important to choose them carefully. The ripest and reddest tomatoes not only contain the highest amounts of lycopene, but they also are thought to contain the greatest amount of beta carotene, another vital nutrient.

Tomatoes are healthy when eaten raw, but they are also one of those rare foods whose nutritional value is actually enhanced by the cooking process. The valuable lycopene is contained in the cell wall of the tomato, and therefore cooking it in a bit of healthy oil will help to more fully release this important nutrient. In addition, cooking the tomato in a healthy oil like olive oil will help the body to better absorb the lycopene in the tomato.

While it is important to choose the richest, reddest tomatoes to enjoy their many health benefits, it is not necessary to always buy your tomatoes fresh. While fresh tomatoes are often better tasting, tomatoes are one of those fruits that ship very well, and they do not lose any of their vital nutritional value when they are shipped. Tomatoes also retain their nutritional value through the high heat processing they undergo, meaning that tomato sauce, canned tomatoes and stewed tomatoes are all valuable sources of antioxidants and other valuable nutrients.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Enjoy Oranges For Good Health

Oranges in all their forms, from fresh Florida oranges to fresh squeezed orange juice, have long been enjoyed for their delicious flavor as well as their health benefits. Indeed, oranges and other citrus fruits are among the most healthy of all foods, and nutritionists often recommend a diet rich in fruits and vegetables for a healthy body and a long life.

The Health Benefits Of Oranges

In addition to their most well known ingredient, vitamin C, research has shown that oranges contain many other important cancer fighting compounds. Oranges have been found to contain over 170 phytochemicals, including over 20 compounds from the carotenoid family. Carotenoids have shown real promise in fighting cancer and other common illnesses, and oranges are one of the best dietary sources of these important compounds.

In addition, oranges contain compounds known as limonoids. It is these compounds that give oranges and other citrus fruits their tangy and slightly bitter flavor. These limonoids are thought to be highly effective anticancer agents also, and oranges are rich sources of these important chemicals.

Oranges And Vitamin C

But of course it is the high vitamin C content of oranges that has earned them such a solid reputation as a healthy food. One average sized orange supplies more than 92% of the vitamin C a person needs each day, so it is easy to get plenty of vitamin C from a diet rich in oranges and other citrus fruits.

Vitamin C has long been studied for everything from its ability to prevent and treat the common cold to its value as a cancer fighter. While there is still some controversy over the anti-cold and anticancer properties of vitamin C, there is no doubt that vitamin C is an extremely valuable nutrient and a strong antioxidant. Vitamin C is the main water soluble antioxidant vitamin in the body, and it has the ability to reduce the cell damage done by free radicals.

In addition to its possible role in fighting everything from colds to cancer, the vitamin C found in oranges and other foods is thought to have a major role to play in the proper functioning of a healthy immune system. It is this effect on the immune system which may be responsible for the reputation of oranges and other citrus fruits to prevent colds and other common illnesses.

The Importance Of A Healthy Diet

While many people try to make up for a lousy diet by consuming high volumes of vitamin C supplements, the best way to get the vitamin C and other nutrients you need is through a healthy and balanced diet. That is because in addition to vitamin C, oranges contain many other nutrients as well, including the many micronutrients needed for a healthy body and a healthy immune system. It would be impossible to recreate these many nutrients in a vitamin pill, so the best advice is to enjoy several servings of healthy and delicious oranges and other citrus fruits every day. Oranges are so delicious, so inexpensive and so versatile that there is no reason not to enjoy them.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Foods High in Antioxidants by Steve Goltiao

We all know that eating foods high in antioxidants are healthy for the human body. Studies have shown that consuming foods high in antioxidants can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and slow the aging process.

But with our "fast-food" lifestyles, it is much easier to consume foods laden with fats and cholesterol than more nutritious foods high in antioxidants. You might be asking, "What are antioxidants?" Well, antioxidants are compounds that fight free radicals that cause damage to the body's cells. Environmental effects such as pollutants, alcohol, and even UV-rays can accelerate cellular destruction caused by free radicals.

In order to combat these harmful compounds, we must eat the right foods to protect our bodies. Eating foods high in antioxidants will ensure that the body has the necessary tools to neutralize free radicals. There are a number of compounds that can act as antioxidants, but the most prominent are Vitamins C and E, selenium, and beta carotene.

Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have high levels of antioxidants. The following is a list of foods high in antioxidants:

Vitamin C - Guava, Papaya, mangoes, cantaloupe, pineapple, tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, dark green vegetables (spinach, asparagus, green peppers, brussel sprouts, broccoli, watercress), citrus fruits and their juices, and berries.

Vitamin E - Dark leafy green vegetables, beans, lentils, split peas, sweet potatoes, soybeans, oatmeal, brown rice, wheat germ, wheat, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and oils (cottonseed, safflower, corn, soybean, olive).

Selenium - Vegetables, whole grains, wheat germ, tuna, seafood, salmon, onions, molasses, garlic, dairy products, chicken, eggs, brown rice, oatmeal, brewer's yeast, and brazil nuts.

Beta Carotene - Mangoes, cantaloupe, apricots, red and yellow peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, yellow and green fruits and vegetables.

Eating healthy may not be as convenient as heading to your local burger joint, but the next time you pick up that juicy burger ask yourself, "Shouldn't I be eating foods high in antioxidants instead?"

Learn more about the foods high in antioxidants and the exotic tropical fruit, mangosteen, which is packed with antioxidant-rich xanthones.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Enjoy Strawberries For Good Taste And Good Health

Everyone knows that strawberries are delicious as well as nutritious, and strawberries, both fresh andfrozen varieties, should be a part of every person’s daily diet. There are many health advantages to eating strawberries, and strawberries are among the most delicious of all fruits.
The USDA now recommends that every American eat at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day, but the fact is that most people end up falling far short of this important goal. Adding fresh strawberries to your diet, whether in salads, in shakes or on their own, is a great way to get the servings of fruit you need for a healthy body and a healthy immune system.

The Nutritional Value Of Strawberries

Strawberries are well known for the many nutrients they contain, including significant amounts of vitamin C. In addition, strawberries and other berries contain significant levels of phytonutrients and antioxidants. The same chemicals that give strawberries their bright red color are thought to be responsible for their strong antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants in the diet are important, since antioxidants are able to reduce the damage done by free radicals. Free radicals are elements that can damage the cells of the body, and they are thought to play a role in the formation of many kinds of cancer. It is easy to see, therefore, why foods rich in antioxidant vitamins, like strawberries, are such an important part of a healthy diet.
In addition to significant amounts of vitamin C, strawberries also provide an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese, as well as being a good source of folic acid, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, copper, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids.

The Many Uses Of The Strawberry

Strawberries are among the most versatile of all fresh fruits, but unfortunately they are quite perishable as well. For this reason, fresh strawberries should be purchased only a few days before they are to be eaten. When strawberries are in season locally this is seldom a problem. At other times of the year, however, it may be necessary to make due with canned or frozen strawberries.

When choosing fresh strawberries it is important to choose those berries which are plump firm and free of mold, and that have a deep red color. Unlike other fruits, strawberries do not continue to ripen after they are picked, so it is important to choose the ripest, reddest strawberries, as they will provide the best taste and the highest nutrient density.
Many people find that medium sized strawberries are sweeter and more flavorful than larger ones. When buying strawberries that have been prepackaged, it is important to be sure that the berries have not been packed too tightly, as this could cause them to be crushed or otherwise damaged.

It is of course important to handle strawberries properly, and to store them well after they have been purchased. Strawberries, like all fruit, should be washed thoroughly prior to eating or storage. Any strawberries that show signs of mold should be removed at once, as they could contaminate the remaining strawberries. The strawberries should be placed in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator. Fresh strawberries will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Are You Getting Enough Calcium?

Calcium is a vital part of every diet, but many people are not getting all the calcium they need for healthy teeth and bones. Nutritionists recommend that women aged from 11 to 18 consume no less than 800 mg of calcium every day, and that those aged 19 and older get at least 700 mg of calcium every day. Calcium is vital to healthy teeth and bones, and to preventing such complications as osteoporosis.

Why You Need Calcium
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, and it accounts for from 1.5 to 2% of the average person’s total body weight. The vast majority of calcium in the body, a full 99%, is concentrated in the bones and the teeth, with the remaining 1% distributed throughout the bloodstream, muscles and other body tissues. It is crucial that the body have a steady supply of calcium to draw from at all times.

Milk is the single most important source of calcium, and few foods are as rich in calcium and as healthy as is milk. In addition to calcium, milk contains significant amounts of phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. These elements are vital, since they help the body absorb and more readily use the calcium in the diet. In addition, milk contains vitamin D, which is also vital for the utilization of dietary calcium. In addition to milk, vitamin D is derived from sunlight, and from the consumption of meat, canned fish with bones, tofu and green leafy vegetables.

Milk In A Healthy Diet
While many other foods also contain calcium, milk and dairy products have more concentrated levels of calcium, and it is difficult to get the necessary 700-800 mg of calcium without milk in the diet. In order to replace the calcium in a single glass of skim milk it would be necessary to eat three servings of spinach, nine boiled eggs, five large servings of broccoli or 20 servings of lettuce.

Nutritionists recommend that adults drink three and a half glasses of milk every day in order to get the amount of calcium they need in their diet. There are many ways to get that milk besides drinking it plain. For instance, many people find that mixing their milk with a couple of spoons of honey and mixing it in the blender makes a delicious and nutritious smoothie. In addition, milk can be added to your favorite recipes, and used in your daily coffee.

Cut The Fat
Of course getting the calcium you need is important, but so is cutting the fat in the diet. A high fat diet has been implicated in obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other serious medical conditions, so it is important to avoid fat while getting the calcium you need. That is why it is so important to seek out low fat and nonfat dairy products whenever you can. Doing so will allow you to get all the calcium you need without consuming more fat than you need.